Moultrie Observer

Local News

April 24, 2007

Logs pointed to meth suspects

Pharmacists’ records pointed to over-purchases of medicine

MOULTRIE — A state law enacted in July 2006 helped the Moultrie-Colquitt County Drug Enforcement Team (DET) apprehend at least 20 people suspected of making methamphetamine.

Lt. Jerry Green, commander of the DET, said Georgia state law allows a person to buy no more than three boxes of medication containing pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in making methamphetamine. Whenever someone tries to purchase the medication, stores are required by law to keep a log book of every purchase and how much is bought.

By monitoring stores’ log books, Green said DET agents were able to show several people were buying enough pseudoephedrine to make the drug. He said the 20 people who were apprehended had been allegedly going to several stores and buying medication beyond the legal limit.

“They had established a pattern of illegal purchases,” Green said. “It is illegal to possess pseudoephedrine in any amount if we can establish intent to manufacture methamphetamine. Intent is implied if the pills have been crushed.”

Chuck Turner, assistant manager at CVS, said a customer who buys medication with pseudoephedrine at his pharmacy brings a card of the desired medicine to the front counter. The customer must show some form of identification, such as a driver’s license, military identification or birth certificate, to certify their age and give their address. The customer must also sign for the medication in the store’s log book.

All of the information obtained in the log book is kept confidential, but Turner said law enforcement officers do check the information frequently. Most customers have been fine with having to give the information and most agree with doing it to help track possible methamphetamine makers. The store itself is pleased the law has been put in place.

“It’s definitely a good thing,” Turner said. “I’m amazed with how people come up with the ideas to do this.”

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